Matt Reeves’ new take on the Dark Knight doesn’t hit theaters until next year, but fans are already hard at work trying to uncover The Batman‘s mysteries. The central mystery? The Riddler’s creepy new look.
As first revealed in the trailer released at DC FanDome last summer, The Batman brings a brand-new Riddler to the big screen and he looks unlike any version of the character we’ve ever seen in live-action. With a disguise more closely resembling masked villains like Batman archnemesis Hush or Birthday Boy from the Earth One comics by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, Reeves’ take on the classic DC baddie seems to lean heavily on the serial killer backstory established by Johns’ book, and later used in the Telltale Batman games.
Indeed, the opening of the trailer sees the Riddler taping up one of his victims and leaving behind a message for Batman, seemingly the first in a series of twisted murders that tie back to Bruce in some way. At the time, fans most familiar with the “energetic trickster who loves zany riddles” depiction of the character, as seen in Batman Forever, The Animated Series, and the classic ’60s TV series, were taken aback by this new Riddler, who would be right at home in ‘90s serial killer thrillers like Se7en or The Silence of the Lambs.
The twist has led to speculation that there might be more to this Riddler than meets the eye. Might it not be Edward Nygma behind that grotesque leather mask? What if the character is actually an amalgamation of both Nygma and Thomas Elliot, the man who secretly plots against Bruce Wayne as supervillain Hush in the comics? After all, Hush had long been rumored as one of the villains of The Batman when Ben Affleck was still set to direct and star. Either way, we won’t know the answers for sure until we’ve seen the movie, but a new leak has revived the Riddler conversation once again.
This time, it’s a leaked images of a promotional calendar for The Batman that has people obsessing over Dano’s Riddler. Check out the leak below:
Specifically, fans are busy dissecting the close-up of the Riddler’s mask, which more closely resembles something you’d find in a bondage shop than a comic book costume. Overall, this Riddler is going for a more stripped-down look, accentuated by the green military jacket, which seems to be the only way the movie will nod to the villain’s classic color scheme. The horn-rimmed glasses are also a new touch.
Some fans are also drawing comparisons between Dano’s Riddler and a real-life serial killer, specifically illustrations of the Zodiac Killer, the infamous criminal who went on a murder spree between the 1960s and ’70s in the San Francisco Bay area. Drawings of the killer over the years have depicted him as a masked figure wearing glasses, imagery Reeves clearly used for his Riddler. The Zodiac also enjoyed sending letters and ciphers to the press, which are not unlike the Riddler’s unsettling messages to the Batman.
Whatever’s going on with the new Riddler, it’s already clear that this is a new direction for the character. But it remains to be seen just what the face behind the mask looks like.
The Batman his theaters on March 4, 2022.